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More Americans opting to defend self in court

PHOENIX — The recession has forced people to cut costs on everything from food to car and home repair and now more Americans are taking on the civil court system.

Roberta Wise of Phoenix acted as her own attorney in a case against a roofing company and won, but said she was well prepared.

“It wasn’t that large of an amount that we were trying to recover,” she said.

Even though Wise was successful, she doesn’t recommend everybody serve as their own representation.

“I was not that confident because there were little technicalities here and there that I thought might be used against me, but other people were positive,” she said.

Wise said one of the most important things someone can do is to perform the necessary research to determine if they have a chance.

“If they’re almost 100 percent positive that they’re in the right, that should give them the confidence they need to go into court,” she said.

Legal Services Corporation, based in Washington, D.C., said it has reached a crisis level of people who cannot afford attorneys representing themselves. The firm is working on how to get more lawyers to provide free services to the working class.

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